John Eden, chief executive of the Scottish Huntington's Association, made the call after a study found more than 16 people in every 100,000 in Scotland are living with the incurable illness.

At least three times more people in Scotland have the disease than 20 years ago, the study said, with 30% more cases per head than in the rest of the UK.

Mr Eden said the project, commissioned by its sister charity in England and the Hereditary Disease Foundation, apparently showed levels of the disease are higher than thought.

He said: "With such high prevalence of Huntington's disease, there really has to be a rethink about how we resource the support needed for those living with the disease and their families."

The number of people with Huntington's in Scotland is nearly three times the World Health Organisation's estimate for all western countries.

Experts have called for further investigation into why there is such a high prevalence in the country.

The hereditary brain disorder affects muscle co-ordination and leads to cognitive decline and psychiatric problems.

High-profile people with the condition included the late American folk singer and writer Woody Guthrie.

Last month it emerged scientists from Dundee University and Germany had made a discovery that could lead to the development of a cure.

Scientists from Dundee University are part of a team that identified a group of three molecules which regulate the production of the defective Huntingtin protein that causes the disease.

Calling for innovative treatments, their study concluded their discoveries gave us hope that alleviation of suffering with new therapies and cures will lift a global burden."

Last year the highest rate of multiple sclerosis (MS), was found in a small group of Scottish islands and the symptoms have risen.

The high prevalence of MS in northern climes has been linked to an absence of strong sunlight, needed to make vitamin D in the body.

Three years ago author JK Rowling donated £10 million to set up a clinic after her mother died from MS.